apples and orangesCustomer and product knowledge are the building blocks of any successful business. When a business knows their services and customers well, an indisputable level of authority, authenticity and trust is built. This knowledge acts as a magnet for new and returning customers, allowing small businesses to thrive and expand.

In marketing, customer knowledge goes beyond knowing names and service preferences. Instead, marketing professionals get to know customers by their spending habits and motivations. By understanding these details, businesses can better know how to reach more potential customers.

In marketing, there are various types of markets based on the type of business you are operating. They can be broken into two categories: differentiated and undifferentiated. Knowing which one of these markets your business wants to target is the first step in creating an effective, long-term marketing strategy.

What’s the Difference?

The definitions of differentiated and undifferentiated marketing strategies are exactly what they sound like. Differentiated marketing focuses on a specific market, a “different” market, that is interested in buying a certain type of product. For example, a business selling organic dog food is looking to target a specific type of person – a health conscious, animal loving and eco-friendly individual.

On the other hand, undifferentiated marketing is designed to appeal to a broad range of customers. An example of this would be a business that produces soft drinks and is looking to target anyone who is thirsty. There is nothing unique or specialized about the marketing campaign; its primary goal is to impact as many people as possible.

Benefits of Differentiated Marketing

Differentiated marketing is the default choice among small businesses, especially if they are hoping to grow. By targeting a defined and very narrow ideal customer profile, a business can build their client base, master their niche market, and organically begin to grow.

Let’s take the example of the organic dog food business. At first, a differentiated marketing strategy may target the dog-lovers in the local area. As the business thrives locally, the company may choose to extend their reach to other cities and states. Or, they may choose to start making organic cat food or gerbil food. This success may open up an entirely new market, but builds on the core strategy. Over time, these marketing strategies concentrations build on themselves and can be blended to strengthen strategies.

Another benefit of differentiated marketing is cost-efficiency. For a new business, differentiated marketing strategy offers a less expensive way to enter a market and begin to turn a profit. It can help small businesses define their target markets so they can learn to identify ideal customers; those that offer repeat business and refer to others.

Benefits of Undifferentiated Marketing

When a company offers a broad range of services or a more accessible product, undifferentiated marketing might be a better strategy. Because undifferentiated marketing targets a wider demographic, it may require more of an initial investment.

Undifferentiated marketing can be seen every day. Examples include:

  • TV ads
  • Radio slots
  • Newspaper advertisements
  • Billboards
  • Sign spinning
  • Car decals

Undifferentiated marketing strategies have numerous benefits, including:

  • Higher reach
  • Brand awareness and recognition (Hey! I saw your commercial on TV!)
  • Increased store traffic
  • Less market research required
  • Unchanging campaigns

Undifferentiated marketing strategies take less time to put together and are often shorter in duration. These campaigns can be used to promote everything from annual sales to new locations.

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Is Online Marketing Differentiated or Undifferentiated?

What makes online marketing so unique is its ability to reach targeted audiences with a high reach. Generally speaking, website marketing is a differentiated marketing strategy. It targets specific keywords to increase online visibility, authority, and likability.

Online marketing is highly dynamic, but its success is founded in the amount of information you have about your product and your ideal customers. Based on these details, you can use the following tactics to increase visibility and attract new clients:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) makes sure you are found when customers are searching for the type of services you offer
  • Social Media Marketing allows your brand to engage and connect with potential customers and other companies
  • Email Marketing targets markets in their email inbox by sharing relevant and informative content, newsletters, helpful articles, and coupons
  • Online News Releases provide a way to target professionals and update the business world about company accomplishments
  • Content Marketing is a way to reach target demographics with engaging articles, blogs, and social media messages

Your online presence is working for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Undifferentiated Online Strategies

Because the internet is so broad, there is, of course, a space for the traditional undifferentiated marketing campaign. High saturation campaigns include:

  • Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
  • Paid Social Media Promotion
  • Banner Ads

Undifferentiated online strategies have less concern over connecting with a specific type of customer and focus more on being highly visible.

What About Viral Marketing?

Viral successes (items that are widely and quickly spread via social media) may be considered undifferentiated online strategies because they reach such a high number of people. But, they are a hybrid between undifferentiated and differentiated marketing strategies. While researchers are still attempting to understand the science of viral marketing success, these content pieces are often crafted to appeal to a niche market of individuals but end up having mass appeal.

Which Marketing Strategy Should I Choose?

With the recent rise in online niche marketing, choosing between differentiated and undifferentiated marketing strategies is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. They are both excellent and essential for a successful sales model. But, by prioritizing differentiated marketing, businesses can develop the potential of their online presence and have a more informed knowledge of their customer base.

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